Wabi-sabi 101: what does “Japanese aesthetics of imperfection” really mean?

Wabi-sabi is a traditional aesthetic concept that embraces imperfect and elusive nature as is, people say. But what does it really mean? What kind of situation will make you embrace negative qualities such as decaying, losing or feeling lonely as a source of beauty? There are a couple of critical clues to understand it.

Japanese aesthetic term “iki” and Ukiyo-e (1)

粋 Iki is an important Japanese aesthetic term that bridges traditional values and modern ones. Look at the Ukiyo-e that showcase the gist of iki.

MUJI House “Yo no ie” model home

We visited the model home of the “Yo no ie” in Chiba, Japan. Yo no Ie is MUJI House’s latest product and first single story house, focsed to open toward the outside environment.

Toyo Ito Interview in Omishima: Architecture then, now and next 1

I spent a morning with Toyo Ito on Omishima island in 2018, where the Toyo Ito Museum of Architecture, Imabari opened an exhibit “Protecting = Creating the Sacred Island of Omishima.” Enjoy Ito’s inspiring story of architecture then, now and next.

The “Less is more” Economy 1: History of “Less is more”

Modern designers in the early 20th century embraced the notion of “less is more,” which revealed two sides of the same coin – the Jekyll-and-Hyde like character of “more,” and the surprisingly pure, natural and relatable quality of “less.” Find out how people’s relentless pursuit of economic growth often led to catastrophic results, and how people reacted to them resiliently to re-discover the power of “less.”

The architecture of awe: Musashino Art University Library by Sou Fujimoto

Sou Fujimoto designed his own “Library of Babel” at the Musashino Art University. It is the architecture of awe – a mesmerizing world of duality materialized by a spiral forest that consists of books and the absence of books (empty bookcases).

What is Zen?

Zen is a school of the “Great Vehicle” branch of Buddhism that focuses on meditation. While its core tenets inherit Buddha’s teachings just like others schools, Zen occupies a special space in modern society and culture. Find out what Zen is, and how it influenced arts and aesthetics in Japan.

Kengo Kuma Exhibition: a LAB for materials

In-depth coverage of Kengo Kuma exhibition “A LAB for materials.” in 2018 that focused on how Kuma leveraged various architecture materials to re-define our relationships with nature.

Hiroshige’s ukiyo-e through the lens of Frank Lloyd Wright

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma re-visited Wright’s intriguing relationship with Hiroshige’s “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” in his book “自然な建築 (Natural Architecture).

Church of the Light by Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando re-created the “Church of the Light,” one of his landmark works he designed in 1989, at the exhibition “Tadao Ando: Endeavors” held in Tokyo in 2017. It is stunning to see how light meets concrete, inside meets outside, and how people face nature through this remarkable piece of architecture.